What is Outdoor Fiber Optic Cable?


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In the general wiring project, we often hear outdoor optical cable and indoor optical cable. But the ones who are not familiar with integrated wiring may not even know what an outdoor fiber optic cable is. Then, let’s talk about what is outdoor fiber optic cable.

1. What is outdoor fiber optic cable?

To put it simply, outdoor optical cable belongs to a kind of optical cable, because it is most suitable for outdoor use, so it is called outdoor optical cable. It is durable, can withstand wind and sun, has a thick outer packaging, and has mechanical and environmental characteristics such as pressure resistance, corrosion resistance, and tensile strength.

Outdoor optical cable is a communication line that completes optical signal transmission. The cable core is composed of a certain number of optical fibers according to a certain method, and is covered with a sheath, and some are also covered with an outer sheath.

Outdoor fiber optic cables are used outdoors. The opposite is the indoor optical cables. Then, what is the difference between indoor and outdoor fiber optic cable? You can click here to learn more.

2. What are the types of outdoor fiber optic cable?

Because the outdoor optical cable is limited by the building environment and laying conditions, the structural design of the outdoor optical cable tends to be complicated, the materials used for optical fibers and optical cables are diversified, and the mechanical properties and optical properties of optical cables have their own emphasis.

2.1 Outdoor fiber optic cable by Structure


  • Central loose tube outdoor fiber cables: The center of the optical cable is a loose tube, and the strengthening member is located around the loose tube. The number of optical cables is small, usually less than 12 cores.
  • Stranded outdoor fiber cables: the strengthening member is located in the center of the optical cable, and 5~12 loose tubes are twisted on the central core strength member in a twisting manner, and the twisting is usually SZ twisting. It can obtain optical cables with a larger number of cores by combining loose tubes. The color separation of the stranded loose tube is usually separated by the red and green color spectrum, which is used to distinguish different loose tubes and different optical fibers.
  • Slotted Core outdoor fiber cables: the reinforcing member is located in the center of the optical cable, and the reinforcing member is composed of a plastic skeleton groove. The optical fiber or optical fiber ribbon is located in the skeleton groove, and the optical fiber or optical fiber ribbon is not easily compressed, and the optical fiber cable has good anti-squeezing performance.
  • Figure 8 self-supporting outdoor fiber cables: The optical cable of this structure can be incorporated into the central tube type and the stranded optical cable, and it is listed separately mainly because the structure of the optical cable is quite different from other optical cables. There are usually central tube type and layer stranded type 8 type self-supporting optical cables. This kind of optical cable is used more in some sparsely populated countries. A sling is added outside the bundled or layered optical cable. The sling is generally stranded with seven steel wires with a diameter of 1.0 mm, or one diameter of 2.5mm galvanized steel wire.

2.2 Outdoor fiber optic cable by location

According to the location of use, it can be divided into three types: outdoor trunk cables, outdoor distribution cables and outdoor relay cables. The outdoor trunk optical cable mainly provides a channel between the inside and outside of the building; while the outdoor distribution optical cable and the outdoor relay optical cable are used to transmit information to specific locations respectively.

2.3 Outdoor fiber optic cable by the scope of use

Outdoor optical cables are mostly used in building complex subsystems, and can be used in places such as outdoor direct burial, pipelines, overhead and underwater laying. The main features are as follows:

  • Aerial optical cable: PE sheath has good anti-ultraviolet radiation performance, AT sheath can withstand the strong electrical corrosion of high-voltage induced electric field; non-self-supporting overhead adopts corrugated steel belt bearing capacity, self-supporting overhead adopts high-strength steel strand bearing capacity
  • Pipeline optical cable: aluminum tape is more suitable for pipelines; compact structure, excellent waterproof performance, excellent mechanical performance and temperature performance
  • Direct buried optical cable: must be double sheathed, with at least one layer of armor
  • Air blown micro cable: specially designed compact structure to help prevent loose tube shrinkage
  • Underwater optical cable: the casing material has good hydrolysis resistance and high strength; the cable paste is filled to provide key protection for the optical fiber


2.4 Outdoor fiber optic cable by the number of fiber cores

According to the transmission mode of optical fibers, outdoor optical cable is divided into single-mode outdoor optical fibers and multi-mode outdoor optical fibers

  • Single-mode fiber: This refers to the fiber that can only transmit one propagation mode in the working wavelength, usually referred to as single-mode fiber, which refers to the fiber that can only transmit one propagation mode in the working wavelength. In cable television and optical communication, it is widely used optical fiber. The core of single-mode fiber is thinner, so that the light can be launched directly to the center, and the distance loss of single-mode signal is smaller than that of multi-mode.
  • Multimode fiber: the fiber is a fiber with multiple modes according to the working length and its possible modes of propagation. The core diameter is 50um. Since the transmission mode can reach several hundred, the transmission bandwidth is mainly dominated by modal dispersion compared with SMF. The effective distance of multimode fiber from transmitter to receiver is about 5 miles. The available useable distance is also affected by the type and quality of the transmitter/receiver device; the stronger the light source, the more sensitive the receiver, and the greater the distance. Studies have shown that the bandwidth of multimode fiber is about 4000Mb/s.

Therefore, the most common determinant of choosing between multimode or singlemode is distance. If close, multimode is preferred because LED transmitters/receivers are much cheaper than lasers required for single mode. If the distance is large, single-mode fiber is better. If large bandwidth data signals are to be transmitted, then single mode is the best choice.

Outdoor optical cables generally use single-mode optical fibers.

2.5 Outdoor fiber optic cable by materials

Outdoor optical cables have higher tensile strength, thicker protective layers, and are usually armored (that is, wrapped with metal). Outdoor optical cables are mainly used for interconnection between buildings and between remote networks.

Generally speaking, outdoor optical cables are only filled with different materials, strengthening members, sheaths, etc. For example, when the outdoor optical cable is directly buried, the armored optical cable should be used. When overhead, an optical cable with a black plastic outer sheath with two or more reinforcing ribs can be used.

Because the outdoor optical cable is used outdoors, it must have a waterproof function. Generally, the outer sheath used is made of PE material.

3. Application of outdoor fiber optic cable

  • Transmission of long-distance communication and inter-office communication
  • Outdoor transmission line for optical communication in the core network and metropolitan area network
  • Optical communication outdoor feeder and wiring in the access network

4. Features of outdoor fiber optic cable

  • The water blocking tape is longitudinally wrapped to prevent the longitudinal water seepage of the optical cable.
  • The tensile strength of the outdoor optical cable is relatively large, the protective layer is relatively thick, and it is usually armored, which is resistant to stretching, abrasion and impact.
  • Fast transmission speed and long distance, good confidentiality, anti-electromagnetic interference, good insulation, good chemical stability, long life and low loss.
  • PE sheath has good anti-ultraviolet radiation performance.

5. Summary


The above is an introduction to outdoor optical cables. Bonelinks is an outdoor optical cables supplier, providing various types of outdoor fiber optic cable, please contact us if you need it.

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